Welcome to Rehabilitate Your Heart


Since we will be talking about health a little disclaimer is in order:

I am a scientifically minded person who enjoys learning and sharing with the world lessons about cardiovascular disease, exercise, research, news,  and experiences of  working with heart patients.  My hope is that the information I divulge here will  be useful to you. It comes from years of experience, a passion to learn, and a desire to  improve health care delivery.  Do you agree that when it comes to your health, being informed is the first step towards taking care of yourself? Through the blog I hope  to try to help you learn about heart issues, hopefully it is meaningful to you. Please take time to visit the bottom of this blog site, as I have placed many useful links for  resources, nutrition, exercise, and support.

This blog is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

73 thoughts on “Welcome to Rehabilitate Your Heart

  1. Thank you for following my blog. I love the information provided throughout your blog and will be sharing it with my mother.

    I do have a few questions, following my mother’s release from the hospital, if she does not make an effort in managing her heart health (and overall health at that), do you have a recomendation on how to approach her, or “push” her to try harder?

  2. Coach her on her expectations. How does she plan to achieve her goals? What are the barriers she sees. Plan strategies to work around barriers. She will have good days and bad, be the support she needs, the mentor, the coach, and the friend as well as the caregiver. It isn’t easy. Keep in touch on how it is going.

  3. I am also nominating you. Here are the rules:

    Am experimenting with this to see if readership increases. Rules are below:

    The rules for this award are the following (applies to all nominees):

    Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
    Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
    Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
    Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
    You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
    As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

    Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different! When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

    There are a total of 6 stars to collect. Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs, and even if they have already been given the award by someone else, then you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!


    Let me know if any issues your end.

    Cheers and best wishes for the holidays.


  4. I think I’m going to find it very interesting following your blog.

    Thank you for visiting MBT and deciding to follow. I write to be happy and to give happiness which I think is good for the heart too! :)

    • I loved your photographs on your blog, it too looks like it will be interesting to follow. I am all for happiness! We all could use more of that. Recipes look delicious as well. Thanks for reading my blog and have a great day.

  5. I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The website style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  6. You made some good points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most individuals
    will go along with your views on this website.

  7. Hello from the UK!.
    I’m so glad you liked my blog on the two MI’s I’ve experienced so far, I say so far a I firmly believe that in this day and age, it’s only a matter of time for all of us despite our individual lifestyles.
    I have ‘liked’ your page on Facebook as I feel we all have a positive message about heart disease, diabetes and any other conditions that can cause, or be caused, by the heart.
    Thank you and good luck.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate your reading and comments.

      Ultimately yes the majority of us will succumb to heart disease, I can’t argue with you there. Hopefully however through education and research we can minimize the potential debilitation and improve quality of life of those living with it, and also see reduction in early heart disease, and treatment/outcome gaps with women and minorities.

      Keep up the good fight, stay active and continue to strive for good health.

  8. Having had two heart attacks, I remain active and undaunted. My idea of a happy death is to die in a water-skiing accident with a beautiful girl on each shoulder. lol Thanks for liking my post Say, “Look Meh!”

    • I am somewhat slowed, but not in pain, and fit enough still to do the things that inspire me. Slightly sorrowed that I will never get to scuba dive. The water skiing joke was one told by the president of a company I worked for. In his dreams the accident would happen to him at the age of 92. Never forgot that one!

  9. Thank you for putting together this website. My background is more in the exercise realm as applied to cardiac rehab, so I look forward to other aspects less familiar or less understood as a check on what I might share with patients. Have recommended to the patients in our program to have a look as it is not only very insightful (for my purposes), it is very informative and can foresee many positive responses from those in our program. Cheers from Ontario, Canada!

    • Thank you so much! That was my intention in putting blog together. Sharing the clinical with patients and professionals. If you have thoughts on other topics to post about CR send them in I would be happy to post, or use you as a guest blogger.

    • Limit the cheese and fried foods helps many. Interesting though having worked with so many patients, for some diet has no implication in the heart and for others it seems to be the root of their heart disease. They are usually the ones who come in and say they never eat vegetables, or they only eat corn or potatoes as their vegetable sources. A challenge for many is to even contemplate change or going beyond their comfort level and trying something new. So while the advice above is great, the next step is to try to eat fresh and incorporate vegetables and fiber.

  10. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was
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  11. Thank you so much for this wonderful information i would like to share this with my mother who is now suffering from minor heart problem.

  12. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
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  14. Good day! This is kind of off topic but
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  16. Thank you for the response about the Mayo Clinic. We live in Michigan so we would visit the MN campus if we go. My primary concern is that she may once again be blown off by the doctors as she has been elsewhere. When the discussion of places like The Mayo Clinic came up with her PCP he also suggested U of M in Ann Arbor since it was only a few hours away. Unfortunately the doctor there blew her off quicker than all the others she has seen. It was very disappointing. You can imagine how she felt after after we drove 2 hours to be told it’s not heart related and to get over it and go back to work. I wouldn’t want to put her through anything like that again especially when it is 10 hours away.

    Any knowledge on the approach the Mayo Clinic may take would be very helpful.


    • Borgess in Kalamazoo is your closest EECP provider which is a great way of treating persistent disabling angina symptoms. Vicki Asaro runs that program, I would suggest you give her a call. If you do end up going to Mayo – you can ask about this service. I have had great results with patients using this treatment. It is non invasive, but rigorous. Has she done cardiac rehabilitation?

  17. Thank you for the information. She has not been through cardiac rehab yet. She was scheduled and about to begin but was cancelled due to her pain. Her pain was present the moment she came out of surgery for the stent. We can check out Borgess and in the meantime she has a referral to a pain clinic here in Grand Rapids but obviously that is our last preferred option.

    I’ve heard such good things about Mayo but fear that any appointment there would be treated just like any other cardiologist appointment here in town where they would send her on her way after running all the standard tests.

    We are probably looking for something that doesn’t exist, a place that has the ability, knowledge and willingness to find the real problem, not give up until they do, and treat it. Other names mentioned by her PCP were U of M which was sadly disappointing, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Rush(sp) and Case Western. From your experience do you feel that any of these places would be beneficial to pursue.

    • I believe she can be helped. Another there are programs that specialize with women and heart disease. Mayo has a program called Women Heart – which specializes in Women and heart disease issues.

      touch. Case Western does lots of research. Rush has lots great nurses I have dealt with on committees who also are big advocates in improving treating women with heart disease.

      All that you mentioned are very prominent programs in cardiology. I have had patients from Cleveland which our local physician would not

      If possible I would still try the Cardiac Rehab route, even though she is having pain, they may be able to figure out some very specific information, such as EKG changes at a particular workload, oxygen changes, what is typical vs. atypical, how relaxation and meditation can impact symptoms.

      This is another blog site where you might get help from. They have lots of connections, resources and very helpful discussions.


  18. For adult ADHD, exercise is second in efficacy to medication. WHatever else you may read on the net is hogwash, and I and my colleagues can defend this position with extensive scholarly rigorous data. In my professional opinion CEPs in are by far in the best position to successfully deliver exercise, with a high level of treatment compliance, than other other professional service offering exercise as a commercial product. For the purpose of encouragement. Cheers, phdbutadhd

    • Agreed on both points, especially the CEP’s being the best to deliver exercise…after all I am one! :) Medication are there for a reason they help and are usually (but not always) more adhered to than an exercise routine. However that being said, many who adopt exercise whether for heart disease or ADHD can sometimes have their medications reduced and/or discontinued. Thanks for reading the blog, not sure which one you are reading the heart disease or the ADHD blog.

  19. im 48 and ive had 4 heart attacks this year 7 angioplastys and now i have 2 anuryisms in my heart also.but last couple days it feels like bubbles moving in my heart.was just wandering if anyone might know what it could be.

    • Hmm… that one I am not so sure of. You might want to talk to your doctor about getting an echo to evaluate the movement of the walls and the valves. For peace of mind in the mean time practice a little relaxation, deep breathing, light exercise or yoga. Being so young with such extensive heart disease knowing and using as many strategies as you can or are possible to care for your heart. These include stress management, exercise, healthy diet, but most of all knowing your body. If the strange sensation pairs itself up with more symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, vomiting, profuse sweating…then get to ER via 911.Just curious, did you ever do cardiac rehabilitation?

  20. Nice post. This blog is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions.Heart bypass surgery can be used to treat heart disease when your coronary arteries are blocked. Your doctor may treat the problem by giving the blood a new pathway to the heart.

  21. My mom is post op 5 months. She had emergency double by-pass. Nothing prepared her this and the way she feels. Her biggest thing she is dealing with is discomfort on her left side. Is this inflammation and will chest exercises help with this discomfort? She said it seems worse in the evening when she is relaxing and watching tv & when she lays down for the evening, it takes a little while and will finally relax. Its driving her crazy. She had an xray to make sure everything was fine and did 6 days of steroids. Will exercising the chest be the best bet? Please help!

    • It very well may be related to posture. When sitting she may be slumping, and she may have some tight pectorals muscles. Does she have a forward shoulder on the side she has the pain? Also the cartilage between the ribs takes a long time to heal. I would certainly advocate trying the exercises. It would help strengthen the muscles, stretch out the tight ones and maybe get things back in better alighment.

    • I guess I may have should been more specific. Left side chest area. But the exercise makes sense. She said when she is busy, she doesn’t notice it much but in the evenings when she is still, that’s when the discomfort sets in.

  22. My heartfelt thanks for your last suggestion and filling the motivation for the life!! Indeed underwent ECG & ECO Tests both are absolutely normal but CT Coronary Angiography Impression says “Patent Stent in Proximal and mid RCA. No instent stenosis. and 50-60^ stenosis of proximal LAD” . Advised by the Doc that the required oxygen and blood is not being supplied D1 (proximal D1 shows eccentric & calsified plaque with 20-30% luminal narrowing. D2- Normal), Calcium score is 546.

    No have been advised for 1) Nitro Contin 6.4mg (2) Clopidogrel & Asprin (3) Star Press XL-50. advised to take this for 1 month but have to go back to Doc after 1 month.

    Post medications have improved, chest pain has vanished but only left arm & neck discomfort radiation with tiredness. Can I overcome this after through medication, what else should I do to keep in order. I appreciate your valuable inputs and your initiative towards patients. With smile

    • Glad to hear! Well I do have a couple of thoughts:

      1, heart disease is progression, most unstable plaques that rupture causing heart attacks occur form 50% or less stenosis so you will always need to be watchful of a change in symptoms. Learn to identifiy your stable angina vs. uh oh I’m in trouble get to the MD now angina. Predicable angina will most likely occur due tot he D1’s poor blood supply. It will most likely give you predictable symptoms. Learn to identify and adhere if sympomts with activity – slow down. If symptoms after eating – eat smaller lighter meals, if with emotional stress – learn relaxation techniques. Learn your bodies exercise or physical activity limits, some exercise is good, but there will be bad days when your body tells you to slow down. Learn to recognize these symtpoms. When things are changing see you physician, until then get on with life, keep some notes or logs, and live life!

  23. Once again thank you so much for the reply. Will follow your valuable suggestion and try to improve my health!!! Am indebted to you for the services rendered. Will remain always….

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  25. MY MOM is 45 years old. she recently had a heart attack and put ONE stent after coronary angioplasty and has another 55% block.Now after almost 4 months she has episodes of pain on the left side of her chest and left upper back pains.. There’s a painful sensation in her heart too as she says..nowadays her bp is 150 systolic 100 diastolic..Her cholesterol levels are quite satisfying… sometimes her heart pains by walking on the treadmill for 30mims but not always… Most of the time the pain starts randomly…I’m really worried about her..*Why does these pain occur?? *is she gonna have repeat heart attack or stroke??**What should be done to get relief from the pain?? **What tests should be done to identify the pain and to know the heart’s condition?? PLEASE HELP ME!!! reply Quick and try to answer all questions! Please HELP!!! <3

    please email me if I can't find ur reply on the blog… HELP!

    • First of all her blood pressure is too high. It should be addressed by a physician as soon as possible. When it is above 170/100 – either number doesn’t have to be both, then exercise or strenuous activity isn’t advised as the activity increases blood pressure and this can be dangerous, possibly leading to heart attack or stroke.

      Secondly, she should have a prescription for some sort of nitroglycerine, either a small pill placed under the tongue which should help to relieve symptoms, and can be repeated for up to 3 pills total five minutes apart. If she requires three then she should also be transported to the nearest emergency room as there may be a heart attack occurring. It is also available as a spray, and many people have to use a slow release long acting nitro to relieve symptoms of frequent angina.
      Why does this happen, well we know she develops blockages, but unfortunately only blockages that are 80% or larger, and are in a location that can be reached during cardiac catherization can be intervened upon. Many women have blockages in very small vessel, sometimes too small to be seen with catherizations. We lack a way to perform interventions on these tiny vessels, thus many have to live with angina symptoms.
      So when do you know if it’s dangerous, well if it is coming on more frequently, occurs with rest and with activity, has other symptoms such as profuse sweating, pain traveling into back, arms or jaw, nausea, or shortness of breath than they need to be evaluated immediately.
      It sounds to me like she urgently needs to see her physician regarding her symptoms. I hope you get a chance to ready the many articles on this blog site as they will be helpful. Also look into WomenHeart and Sister to Sister blog sites for further helpful information. Thanks for reading and let me know if I can be of further help.

  26. I am so excited to know anything about the heart, I watch a lot of House and I am smart too, but there are maybe a few more things I can learn too so if you can provide me with the info I want I will write more comments to you.

  27. I suffered a massive heart attack this summer at age 38. It has been quite a roller coaster ride of lifestyle changes and emotions over the past few months. One way I cope is by blogging. http://LoveYourHeartBlog.com
    I find your blog to hold tons of great information. Thank you for sharing!!

    • It sounds to me like you are doing very well after looking at your blog site. Congratulations on completing CR and making such great life changes. It’s a long road ahead living with heart disease, as we can’t cure it, but hopefully through prevention, and good medical care we can minimize long term consequences. Thanks for following my blog. Let me know if there is anything I can do to be of help.

    • my son had open heart surgery last year December 2014. dr said the operation was successful. but when i took him to a pediatrician yesterday for follow up dr said he have a leaked in his heart. my question is what went wrong how can he have a leaked if the hole was closed? i don’t understanding at all. please help. does that mean my son have to through another operation? is that serious?

  28. My older friend at work today grazed his scar he received when he had heart surgery at age 8. he is in his mid 40s now but it became very swollen and caused him as he put it (lighting pain). It was red and swollen maby 1” out from his chest. And he would not go to the hospital instead he was preparing to drain it him self with out sterilizing anything but I was able to find some 90% isopropanol and at least keep things somewhat clean before he drained it. But if it is still hurting him what can I do to help?

  29. my mother got heart attack n placed 1 stent,for 2 months she was fine but after 2 months she started discomfort in chest,she is getting inconvenience if she hear callingbell or celph ringing,or if she had shower then she gets inconvenience,shes sits at same place fot 10min n she will be fine or some times she uses sorbitrate tables 5mg thn with in 2 mins shes will be fine,shes gets inconvenience daily 3 to 4 times like this,while sleeping she gets different type of inconvenience(like some stone is inside her chest)she uses 1 sorbitrate tab n her pain is gone….we asked doctor n we had ecg n troponin i test….everything is f9,bp is norml n pulse is 70,its been 2 months she is suffering with this same problem,if she bend or lift 1 kg weight she gets the small pain…is this common for stent patients?doctor says it may be because of stress…..she uses 2 to 3 sorbitrate 5mg tabs…is it ok to use it regularly ?she says heart attack pain is very much different n this pain is veryless some what irritation type….can any1 please help me…..

    • Absolutely it is ok to use the sorbitrate as it clears the body in 15min and that is exactly why it is prescribed. She is listening to her symptoms and it isn’t unusual to continue to have some symptoms. She should continue to track and as long as she can manage them and they are unchanged from her last visit with the doctor this is considered normal. There are other things that can cause chest pain too such as esophogeal reflux, or small vessel disease. It is important to monitor the symptoms for change.

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  31. I had triple bypass 9 weeks ago. I started out walking 3 to 4 times a day as soon as I was released from the hospital and have not stopped. I weighed 231 pounds going in to surgery, 238 coming home from the hospital and now I’m 207 (down 4 notches on my belt). I have been following a low sodium, low fat, low sugar diet loaded with vegetables and I switched to decaf coffee. I take Vitamin C and D, low dose Bayer Aspirin, CoQ10, Crestor, Zetia, fish oil, probiotics, and Osteo Bi-Flex. I was shedding water weight like crazy. When I get the munchies I eat raw unsalted nuts (many types and grapes of various color).

    At first, I could not lay on my back for 7 weeks, too much pain. For the first seven weeks I slept on a couch with a large heating pad that vibrated, this worked very well. I tried to stay in an elevated position for my upper torso and left leg to reduce swelling.

    I tried to drive at week 4. It felt like it was too soon. My turns were wide so I stopped.

    Week 5 and 6, I had a fair amount of crackling and popping in my chest. I began to get massages to relax the stressed muscles and the popping and crackling just stopped. I could feel the muscles that were tense for weeks finally release. These were chair massages carefully planned after having an advance discussion with the massage therapist. $20 for 20 minutes.

    Week 7, my rib on the lower right side began to hurt from sleeping on the couch. I took a urine test to be safe, no blood was found. By default the pain should be muscle skeleton. My Primary care physician gave me Naproxen for pain and suggested over the counter sleeping pills to help me develop normal sleep patterns again. This worked very well. The first time I slept thru the night was amazing!

    By week eight I was able to lay on my back and sleep in a regular bed again. I began to sleep on my sides again too. So far it has all worked out. I went back to work in the 8th week at a desk job. I was also able to start jogging again in intervals. Each morning I do a combination of walking and jogging for 3.5 miles. In the evening, I continue my routine of stretching and walking.

    I am still waiting to start my rehab class. Seems like it is taking forever to get the program started. I should start in week 11. I have not lifted any weights as of yet.

    I hope this info helps.

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